Running a car on water?

From R-Squared…..

Based on some of the comments following my post on the “water car”, I think several people misunderstood the point. It was not to debunk the water car. You can in fact run a car with water as one of the reactants. I could even run a car on crushed ice or Jell-O, if I used the right second reactant.

My point was merely to show how a car could be run on water, and to further point out that it requires a second, very reactive substance. In other words, the “water car” is not running solely on water. The other point was that the reactive substance will always take more energy to produce than you will get back from splitting the water. That’s simply pointing out the thermodynamics. It doesn’t mean that there might not be times that it makes economic sense to do this – just that there is much more to the story than a car that runs on water.

I always thought that running car on water was just a myth cooked up by conspiracy buffs. Turns out, it can be done in theory, but it is just not economical because of the cost of the reactants.

Growing Your Own Diesel

From Farm Show….

“I have to grow 500 acres of 100 bu. per acre milo to net enough money to buy all the fuel I need for my farm. But it takes only 100 acres of sunflowers to grow all the fuel I need for my farm – about 11,000 gal. of oil.

“I paid a total of $6,000 for the press and engine. It doesn’t take many gallons of fuel to pay that back.”

According to McAmoil, growing your own biodiesel fuel is far more practical than using cooking or vegetable oil. “There isn’t enough restaurant oil within a 100-mile radius of my farm to operate my diesel-powered equipment for even two days. A lot of farmers in the High Plains are starting to buy presses so they can grow their own fuel. One farmer is looking at buying several presses so he can operate five different irrigation engines, using 50,000 to 60,000 gal. of biodiesel fuel per year. He’ll hire someone to operate them full-time all year long.

This almost sounds to good to be true. But it is common knowledge that you can run a diesel engine off of vegetable oil. So why not off of oil that you press at your farm?

If you read the full article, you will see that the guy adds some gasoline to the mixture so it is not 100% homegrown. Still, this could be the wave of the future.

Admittedly, it is still turning food into fuel, but it does so in a manner that is a lot more practical then ethanols. For one thing there is no fermenting. The oil is being pressed out of the crops and being used in the tractors will only a little gasoline being added. Moreover, the left over mash is being feed to cattle.

Most importantly, this process is not being driven by government mandates. The guy did a straight up cost comparison between how much acreage he would have to plant to pay for diesel fuel and much acreage he would have to plant to grow his own fuel. The amount he would have to plant to grow his own fuel was less the amount of acreage he would have to plant to buy it.

It is time that credit card companies faced some real competition…

From an AP story about gas station owners who are refusing to accept credit cards (h/t Crunchy Con)….

His complaints target the so-called interchange fee — a percentage of the sale price paid to credit card companies on every transaction. The percentage is fixed — usually at just under 2 percent — but the dollar amount of the fee rises with the price of the goods or services.

As gas tops $4 a gallon, that pushes fees toward 10 cents a gallon. Now stations, which typically mark up gasoline by 11 to 12 cents a gallon, are seeing profits shrink or even reverse.

I don’t understand why credit card companies charge a percentage of all sales instead of a flat fee. Does it really cost them more money to process a transaction for $4 then $100?

There are real benefits to both the gas station owners and the customers to be able to pay at the pump. When you pay at the pump the gas station has less labor costs because you never have to deal with a live person. Furthermore, they don’t have to face the risk that you will drive off with out paying for your gas. For customer the benefits are even more numerous.

So I think gas stations should band to together and mandate the use of their own card instead of refusing to accept them all together. The bigger convenience store chains already have their own card so it should not be too hard for them to tell the credit card companies to shove it.

Heil Canada

From the AFP….

A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl’s grounding, overturning her father’s punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting “inappropriate” pictures of herself online using a friend’s computer.

The father’s lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl’s “own protection” and is appealing the ruling.

H/T Crunchy Con

If you think Gas prices are high now….


This is why Riedel sees an Israeli military strike, with the US government’s consent, as the most likely attack scenario. But the consequences, according to Riedel, would not differ from those of an American attack. “An Israeli attack will be seen as a US attack. Iran will retaliate against both Israel and the US.” The consequences, says Riedel, would be fatal. “We will see a Middle East in flames.”

Nevertheless, in Israel it is no longer a matter of whether there will be a military strike, but when. It is clear that the attack would be exclusively an aerial strike. Jerusalem recently received approval from Washington for a purchase of F-22 stealth bombers. The centrifuges used to enrich uranium at the Natanz nuclear facility are apparently the main target. According to Israeli information, the centrifuges are kept above ground and are thus easier to destroy. The reactor in Bushehr is seen as another possible target.

And the Iranian air defenses? “We know that Iran’s air defenses are not among the world’s best,” says former Mossad chief Yatom. “They can be overcome.” Nevertheless, many Israelis still hope that the Americans will do the job for them. “It could still be the case,” says Yatom, “that George W. Bush wants to guarantee himself a place in the history books with this last act.”

I have always argued that Israel could not strike Iran without US help because their plans just did not have the range. But F-22’s have a longer range then the F-16’s that Israel has used for past strikes. So if Israel takes delivery of the F-22s they may indeed be able to strike Iran themselves. But that is by no means a done deal as far as I know.

The Bad News Just Does Not Stop

From the New York Times….

At a moment when corn should be almost waist-high here in Iowa, the country’s top-producing corn state, more than a million acres have been washed out and destroyed.

Beyond that, agriculture experts estimate that 2 million acres of soy beans have been lost to water, putting the state’s total grain loss at 20 percent so far, with the threat of more rain to come.